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[APD] Re: substrate

>110 oz First Layer Pure Laterite,
>3 dry quarts Uni-Gro brand Vermiculite,
>8 dry quarts Scotts brand Sphagnum Peat Moss (not planning on using it all),
>4 dry quarts Uni-Gro Pumice (not sure if going to be used),
>30 pounds Schultz brand Aquatic Plant Soil (so far the least expensive, only $5.98 >each 10 LB bag),
>15 lbs. CaribSea brand Flora-Max,
>40 lbs. wet CaribSea brand Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate,
>12 lbs. Red Sea brand Flora Base,
>15.4 lbs. Seachem brand red Flourite,
>30.8 lbs. Seachem black Onyx Sand.
>2 lbs small grain (2-3 mm) sand for decrotive use
>~ About. 152 lbs. total."
I hope you do not plan on mixing all this mess together.

>I am still looking for Humus and the proper soil to mix together with the Ver miculite >and peat moss to use as the lower layer above the Laterite. Is Perlite worth using? >Anybody have experience with soil for a substrate? I was reading about it in the >research done by Jim Kelly at U.C. Davis, but now can't find the website."
Yes, you'd be better off using the Carbi sea flora base, Flourite, onyx.
Add a little mulm, add a little ground peat to the bottom 1/2" top with one of these three.
Mulm= the dirt vacuumed out of an established substrate, decant the water, save the wet dirt.
Your are freaking out with the substrate, stop it.
You'll save the $, you will save the time and you'll have better results if you follow the advice I'm giving you.

>I want to use Heating Cables for the substrate, but do not know much about them, the >only brand I've heard of is Dupla. Does anyone have experience with using heating >cables? 
Yes, with 2 brands and have made 7 calbes from raw components.'
>Are they really important?

No. You certainly would not want to use them with soil etc.

>I plan on using Flourish Tabs as fertilizer supplement 
Why? You alrerady have a flourite based, this is all you'll need.
Adding more nutrients to the substrate will not force plants to grow faster.
and I have Kent, Tetra and >Seachem brand liquid additives. I have been using Reverse Osmosis water >reconstituted w/ Kent R/O right and pH stable,
>as well as collected Rainwater when available. The tap wa ter here is really hard w/ a >very high pH.

You do not need MORE than the Flourite/mulm/ small amount of peat provides, adding more does not mean better. 
Stop using the RO. I lived in the Bay, I set up tanks in your region(Plesanton). 
The water is fine for plants.

"I currently have a 55 and 10-gallon w/ fish and plants, as well as empty 40 and 12-gallon tanks I want to start soon. I am assuming the best way is to get the 40 & 12 planted and cycled in order to transfer the fish into them from the 55 & 10 and then plant those.
(About 117 gallons total)"
Use the mulm from one tank to start the others.
Plant heavy from day one always, do NOT use fishless cycling.

>Aaron R. Martin, 
If you want a nice planted tank go here(www.sfabaaps.com) and go to a meeting, SFAS meetings, bug Erik etc.
Read the stuff on the site and also go to a meeting.
Keep reading sites, lurk on the boards etc.
Keep things simple, more is not better, playing with everything will gain you experience,  I've played with this stuff myself many moons ago myself, I will tell you that the method I gave you, will work the best for you.
Your goal is growing plants? 
If you are plain curious, then go for it.But you will gain some expereince with algae as well this way. 
Use CO2 if you want to grow plants well. Not sure if you are or not, but it's a lot easier than dealing with RO/pH stable.
You do know that you can use baking soda for pH stability? It adds KH.
GH can be added by using Epsom salt(MgSO4) and CaCl2(pool calicum increaser).
If you plan on a non CO2 planted tank, then let me know. But you are not sounding like the type of personality nor asking about things with this methiod in mid really.
You'll get a lot more miles out the water column than you will with the substrate when you want to grow plants fast/er.
Substrate contributes, but is less important when you use CO2 + dosing.
Non CO2 methods rely on a semi rich substrate, fish food. Growth is slow, the plant choices can be limiting.
Also, go to Albany Aquarium on San Pablo(Guy's place). They just got a tasty shipment of plants in and it's got nothing but planted tanks. Also see Justin on Cedar in SF off Van Ness. About the two best plant shops around.
Tom Barr 


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